Prayers for Fire and for Water
1 Kings 18:41-46
And Elijah said to Ahab, Get you up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.…

The prayer for fire was answered at once; the prayer for water was not. By putting the two instances together we shall see how they explain one another, and what a striking argument for their common probability is established. Notice as the fundamental fact that the prayer for fire was answered instantaneously, and that the prayer for water was not answered until it had been offered seven times.

1. There was an urgency in the one case which there was not in the other. The king was waiting; so were the prophets; so were the people; it is an unprecedented crisis in the history of the nation. In the case of the rain, the prophet was alone; no immediate expectancy on the part of the public was to be answered.

2. We are not to live in the unusual and the exciting, but in the ordinary and regular. It was good for Elijah himself to be taught that he was only a suppliant, not the Lord. God has always been sparing of His exceptional manifestations. Christ was sparing in His miracles: He never did them merely for the sake of doing them.

3. No human imagination would have risked such a conjunction of immediateness and delay as is given in this chapter. Such a contrary act on the part of God is a simple impossibility to the imagination. It amounts to what is called, sometimes foolishly, a discrepancy or contradiction. Yet it is the very law of the mystery of our life! We live it, but dare not imagine it! Great honours are followed by great reverses to keep us sober. Out of this reasoning comes the high probability of the historical and literal truthfulness of the whole narrative. Literary completeness there is none. No attempt is made to satisfy the suggestions of fancy. All tricks of management, all skill in artistic disposal of incident is ignored, and truth is left to attest and vindicate its reality.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.

WEB: Elijah said to Ahab, "Get up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain."

Persevering Prayer
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